Help with "Childhood Favorites" theme party menu
I could use help planning the birthday party menu for my baby's first birthday. The theme is "Childhood Favorites." I'd like the foods to be standard childhood favorites (not the weird stuff we may have personally liked, but no other kid would eat... like my personal fave, beef gravy poured over white bread). I am hoping for as many dishes I can make ahead of time and/or require no oven space.
So far my menu is:
Mac & Cheese
I was thinking about fried chicken because it's easy (just order it from local supermarket), but is that really a childhood fave? Hubby says to do burgers and dogs, but I don't want him working at the grill... I'd rather the food be ready ahead of time. I am also running into the problem that seems like most childhood faves--chicken nuggets, French fries, etc.--are beige. This party will be mostly adults with only some kids.
Since you're not having too many kids, maybe do the regular fare for the little guys, and put a twist on the same recipies for the adults. Mac & Cheese with 2 or 3 different cheeses for the adults.
Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Roasted tomato soup and Swiss on dark rye or mozzarella and pesto on Italian rolls for the adults.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. PB with ginger jelly or blood orange marmalade for the adults. Or something with Nutella.
Pigs in a blanket. Sausage en croute sliced into rounds for the adults. This will use your oven though, but might be okay at room temp.
Celery ribs stuffed with cream cheese or PB and raisins. Alouette herbed cheese spread on endive leaves.
Lemonade for the kids; limoncello spritzers for the adults.
Fresh/frozen peas are a good choice and you can get some color into the mix that way. Grapes are another good way to add some color to the plates.
Great! I love the idea of celery spread with cheese (have to avoid PB because of allergies)... maybe I can come up with a clever name for the menu (like Ants on a Snowy Log... but better than that lol).
And I have enough space in my oven for one dish, and the sausage en croute might be perfect!
What about homemade corndogs? Maybe spice up the batter for the grown-ups. I'd think you could make them ahead of time and warm them in the oven.
Sweet potato fries are a non-beige alternative. Grilled cheese is another kid-staple that can easily be made into an adult indulgence with the right cheeses and breads. Don't know how well it would go for make-ahead, but would probably pair decently with a gazpacho, rather than hot tomato soup (assuming I'm not the only one with this combo from childhood).
Pizza! You can make kid-friendly ones and more sophisticated ones for adults. And it can be very colourful. You can buy the crust or pizza dough and even make it on the BBQ/grill.
And, for finger food, popcorn. You can make upscale popcorn like White Truffle Popcorn or Caramel Popcorn (I have recipes for both if you want them).
For veggies, maybe "broccoli trees" with dip.
And for a beverage, punch (an alcoholic version for the adults)
For my boys' 2nd & 4th parties, I made two large muffulettas, one traditional with the salami, olive salad, etc., and the other was with turkey breast, boursin cheese, arugula, tomatoes on large loaves of round bread. You do them ahead. Wrap well and weight in the fridge for a day, and they serve a lot of people. I also served a pasta salad, can do a macaroni for nostalgia, and fruit salad. You can do a Jello mold.
For the kids, I served chicken tenders, pb & banana mini sammies, chips. goldfish / pretzels, fruit & cake.
How about serving the chicken nuggets on skewers to make them adult and with a colorful, adult dipping sauce option? Something chipolette or bourbon/honey and ketchup for the kids.